Types of Public Schools

Explore the different types of public schools, from charter to language immersion, and learn about the unique pros and cons of each type. Is a co-ed or single sex classroom best for your child? Charter school or magnet? Read expert advice and get valuable tips on the various public education programs available and how to choose what works best for your family.
View the most popular articles in Types of Public Schools:
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Tuition for Public Schools? Some Districts are Saying Yes
We look at a new trend in public schools – charging tuition to students outside the district to attend high-demand schools. Now, some schools are actively marketing to attract out-of-district students and compete with private schools in their areas.
Public school was established to provide a free education for everyone living in the United States. It has been dubbed the great equalizer, providing the same opportunities for all students, regardless of race, background or income level. However, some public schools are bucking this philosophy, at least for students that live outside their immediate boundaries. One of the recent trends catching fire in public schools across the country is the charging of tuition to students living outside district boundaries. Fair? It depends on who you ask.
Tuition Spreading, Rates Increasing
Business Insider reports that many school districts across the country charge tuition to students who want to attend the school from outside the district. What is interesting about this latest trend is the amount of tuition charged, which is increasing exponentially at some in-demand schools. While the typical going rate for out-of-district transfers ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, some schools are charging students $10,000 or more for a year of education.
The new rates are comparable to those at private schools, which some public institutions willingly admit they are trying to compete with. The school board president for the Rye Brook District in New York told Business Insider, “You get a first-rate education. You hear about charter schools. You hear about private schools. You hear about parochial schools. This is just another option.”
Rye Brook recently announced plans to charge tuition rates of $21,500 for slots in middle and high schools for the upcoming school year. The going rate for K-6 schools will be more than $19,000 per year. Rye Brook believes it has a lot to offer students in exchange for the lofty tuition rate. According to CBS New York, the schools feature a multitude of awards, impressive athletic facilities and plenty of technology resources.
While this Westchester county appears to be charging high rates for an education, other districts in the area are charging even more. Edgemont and Bronxville are both cited in the Business Insider report as charging tuition rates ranging...
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Tuition-free Online High Schools
Learn how you can attend a tuition-free online high school accredited by your state.
Find tuition-free online charter schools accredited by your state's department of education. Select your state below:

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Rigorous High School Gives Underprivileged Students Hope for Future
We take a closer look at Bard High School Early College to see how a more rigorous curriculum is challenging disadvantaged students to set their future sights high.
Photo Credit: bhsec.bard.edu
College is the future dream for many high school students, but that dream is more likely to become a reality for some students than others. Now, high school students in Newark have an option that can help them beat the odds and make that college dream a reality. Bard College has brought its proven track record of success to a Newark high school, offering students the chance to experience the rigors of college academics firsthand within the secure confines of a high school environment.
Bard High School Early College Newark
Bard High School Early College Newark (BHSEC Newark) is the latest in a series of college-based high schools created through Bard College. According to the BHSEC website, this school first opened in 2011 as a partnership between the college and Newark Public Schools. BHSEC Newark offers a rigorous, college-level curriculum combined with traditional high school academics that prepare students for life after high school.
What makes the Newark school unique is its commitment to enrolling students from a diverse range of backgrounds, giving students the chance to excel academically that might not have the chance otherwise. Students come from all Newark neighborhoods, including disadvantaged areas like Newark’s West Ward, where drugs and shootings are almost a way of life for the youth residents of the community. The New York Times reports that BHSEC Newark is positioned across the street from a tire shop and bail bond business, seemingly to breathe fresh life into a troubled neighborhood.
BHSEC Newark is the third Bard high school to open. The other two are situated in New York City, with locations in Manhattan and Queens. Both are considered part of the New York City Public Schools system, and welcome students from all five of the boroughs in New York City. The schools are characteristically small, with a ratio of around 20 students to every teacher in the classroom.
Students that are admitted into the Bard schools will typically complete their high school requirements within their first two years. If they successfully...
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A School Run by Students? Massachusetts High School Embraces New Model
We explore a new concept in on Massachusetts high school, where students choose their curriculum, homework assignments and classroom structure.
In the traditional school, curriculum is chosen by school board members and taught by faculty – usually standing in front of a classroom of students. Students can choose to engage in the lesson, or not, but they rarely have much say in what or how they learn. Until now. One high school in Massachusetts has set course on a whole new kind of learning adventure, where students choose the subjects and run the classroom as they see fit? Does it work? Let’s find out.
The Independent Project
Time recently reported on an innovative program taking place at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Massachusetts. The program, aptly dubbed the “Independent Project,” offers students a chance to determine how and what they study during school hours. The project was started by a student who became frustrated seeing his friends lose interest in class and simply stop making the effort to perform academically.
Sam Levin complained to his mother about the problem, who promptly suggested Levin start his own school. The high school student began with a garden on school property that was fully tended by students on a voluntary basis. When Levin saw how readily students put forth effort on a project all their own, he decided to expand the garden concept to other aspects of the school experience.
“I was seeing the exact opposite in school,” Levin told Time. “Kids weren’t even doing the things they needed to do to get credit. There was something at odds with students getting up to work for no credit or money [on the garden] at 7 in the morning, but not wanting to wake up to read or do a science experiment. I saw the really amazing and powerful things that happened when high school students stepped it up and were excited about something.”

Initial Success Breeds Expansion
Levin worked with Monument Mountain high school counselor Mike Powell to expand the program, which was officially approved by the school board and launched in 2010. Although Levin has since graduated from the school and is...
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Cyber-Education Coming to the Public School Realm
Online learning is no longer just for colleges, as more charter high schools are becoming completely virtual.
Online learning has become a popular way for many college students to earn a degree, but it is also making its way into many primary and secondary schools as well. With the rising popularity of cyber-charter schools nationwide, some public school districts are turning to cyber-education as a means of competing with other schools in their areas. But is online education the answer for public schools today? The answer depends on who you ask.

What is Cyber-Education?
According to K12 (an online school), cyber or virtual schooling takes place on the Internet, rather than a traditional classroom. Students go online from anywhere they choose, allowing them to keep up with school work from home or on the road. Access to teachers is completed through phone calls, online through conferencing or face-to-face in some instances. Teachers that work in cyber-schools are state-certified and oversee virtual classrooms, where students often have the opportunity to interact with their instructors and peers.
While cyber-schools maintain a sense of structure in their virtual classrooms, there is flexibility in education that is not seen in a brick-and-mortar classroom. The success of students in cyber-education rests more squarely on parents, who must ensure students remain focused even if they are doing their learning from the comfort of home. However, unlike home schooling, parents do not act as instructors in the cyber-school experience.
The Benefits of Cyber-Schooling
Those who have participated in cyber-schooling tout numerous benefits with the model, including:

  • The ability to individualize lessons to a student’s ability and learning pace
  • Students who are unable to attend traditional classrooms due to illness or disability don’t have to fall behind in school
  • Students can keep up with studies during travel
  • Cyber-schools offer the opportunity to get a quality education without fear of getting picked on or bullied
  • These virtual classrooms allow students to get the bulk of their influence from home – through parents and siblings

“I think the education is a lot better,” Cameron, an 11-year-old student at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (a cyber-school), told Lehigh Valley Live. “My favorite part is...
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